Local Issues: City, County, and Metropolitan

The AKC Government Relations Department is pleased to assist dog owners with canine legislation issues in their local communities, but we can't help unless we are aware of the proposal. Please contact us at (919) 816-3720 or doglaw@akc.org when new laws are discussed or introduced in your city or county. We will provide you with resources and tools to help defend the rights of dog owners and support responsible dog ownership in your community.

Here are some examples of the local issues currently being addressed by AKC GR:

CA, Whittier — The Whittier City Council rejected a proposed adoption of the Los Angeles County Code (which included mandatory spay/neuter provisions). AKC GR sent a letter of opposition when the issue was first raised and local dog owners joined the California Federation of Dog Clubs in opposing the measure. These hardworking constituents were able to convince the city council members that mandatory spay/neuter was an inefficient and burdensome solution to the city’s animal control issues.

CT, Stamford — A committee of Stamford’s Board of Representatives is considering changes to Chapter 111 of the City’s Code of Ordinances, which currently deals with “Dogs and Other Animals”. The changes include use of the term “guardian” to describe the relationship between dogs and their owners and a requirement for breeders to acquire breeder permits. The committee currently developing the changes is expected to make more changes to the proposal. The American Kennel Club opposes portions of the ordinance as originally written. All dog owners in Stamford are encouraged to contact the members of the Legislative and Rules Committee to express their concerns with the proposal and demonstrate the positive impacts they make as responsible breeders. Read more about the Stamford proposal.

NM, Taos County — The Taos County Board of Commissioners heard testimony on proposed changes to the animal control code including mandatory spay/neuter provisions, burdensome licensing fees, leash requirements that could deem a dog to be “at-large” even when on its own property, and revisions to the limit law. The Commissioners have deferred action on this item and AKC GR encourages local responsible dog owners who would like to assist in continuing to educate the commissioners about these important issues to please contact the Government Relations Department.

NY, Hempstead — The Hempstead Town Board has proposed a measure that would require pet stores to comply with numerous requirements, including mandating the sterilization of all dogs prior to sale. “Pet stores” would include not just retail establishments, but also anyone who meets the definition of “pet dealer”, which is all breeders who sell at least 9 animals a year – even those animals that have been raised on the breeder's premises. This low threshold could include many who breed and sell just one litter. Those who meet this definition would be subject to many new requirements, including unannounced inspections and a requirement that their “pet store” be considered a public meeting space. AKC is working closely with local officials to address concerns with this proposal. Read more about this proposal. 

NC, Iredell County — Iredell County is considering multiple changes to its animal control code. Many concerns with the initial draft, including unreasonable space requirements for outdoor enclosures, have been addressed. Some concerns remain, however, including an unclear definition of companion animal that could impact those who keep dogs that may be used—but are not currently used—for hunting, working, or another specific service. Those who keep dogs not meeting the definition will be required to have tail docking done only by a licensed veterinarian and comply with other requirements. AKC continues to closely monitor this proposal, which will be discussed at a public hearing in October.

NY, Ulster County — The Ulster County Legislature introduced a proposal that would have regulated those who sell more than 9 dogs or 2 litters of dogs in a year. Those meeting this definition would be subject to licensing and inspections and inspections could be carried out by local animal welfare organizations. The proposal also included several kennel requirements that were not in the best interest of dogs and would have been virtually impossible to enforce. The AKC has issued legislative alerts, sent letters of concern to the legislature, and supported the efforts of local clubs and hobby breeders who worked to educate legislators. The proposal is pending in committee and an amended version will likely be considered in October. AKC will continue to closely monitor this legislation and provide more information when it becomes available.